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» 04.03.2010 - Britain no yet convinced to lift Zim sanctions
» 03.03.2010 - More black-outs for SA after World Cup

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Economy - Development | Society | Gender - Women

SAA battles sex scandal

afrol News, 12 January - Africa's premier air carrier, South African Airways (SAA), is fighting to regain its credibility by penalising its officials indicted in a sex scandal. With claims of a sex scandal among the carrier's top management, SAA is degenerating into a haven for sex pests such as rape and harassment, critcs say.

SAA is left with no option other than to suspend indicted senior officials pending investigations into their case.

According to the Labour Relations Act of SAA, alleged perpetrators be immediately suspended pending a full investigation into sexual offences. In that counsellors will offer assistace and counselling to the victim.

It is reported that two deputies and a former Deputy Chief Executive, Khaya Ngqula, face charges of attempted rape and sexual harassment for allegedly luring their subordinates in offices, boardrooms, car parks and in hotels.

SAA spokesperson Jacqui O'Sullivan confirmed three of the cases.

The carrier's Acting General Manager of human resources, Eric Kumkani, was accused of forcibly stripping off a woman before throwing her onto a boardroom table and sexually penetrated her.

"The poor woman is traumatised," a source told 'City Press'. "She has been crying for days. It's a tragedy what happens at the SAA offices and boardrooms."

Having invited the woman to a private meeting at Oliver Tambo Airport boardroom, Mr Kumani reportedly unzipped his trousers and lured her to sex. Despite her refusal, Mr Kumani was said to have thrown her on the table, beating her below of her nect while holding her from behind in an attempt to have sex with her.

The traumatised woman then informed a male colleague of what happened.

Police confirmed that the woman had opened a case against Mr Kumani.

Another case of sexual harassment involved the former SAA General Manager for Marketing, Moagi Molebatsi, who was sued by Arlene de Waal.

The General Manager of flight operations, Alfred Mahlangu, has been invited disciplinary hearing for forcibly kissing and impossing himself on a Cabin Crew Relations Manager, Nombasa Ntsondwa-Ndlovu. Over 2,500 people, including 11 managers report to Mr Mahlangu.

Ms Ntsondwa-Ndlovu has now opened a sexual harassment charge against Mr Mahlangu after she has been at pain for so long.

"He initially looked nice and acted like a father figure interested in what was happening in the personal lives of his subordinates," Ms Mtsondwa-Ndlovu said, disclosing that Mr Mahlangu shared his family frustraions with several women how his family disapproved of his wife.

"Then he set our one-on-one meetings, where my performance was to be evaluated, at restaurants. He would demand hugs at the office and say things like 'I don't know what to say (when I am) in front of you'."

"He would tell me he used to be the biblical Lazarus before he became general manager. He would say he could not get close to beautiful women ... and how he could now have any woman he wanted," she said.

Ms Ntsondwa-Ndlovu and a colleague, Gloria Tshiloane, confronted Mr Mahlangu. He promised to change his attitude. "But a few days later, he told me to follow him to the car park . . . where he played me a song called 'We belong together' by Mariah Carey."

"On another day, after a meeting with him and a colleague in his office, I left early because I did not want to socialise. He came to my office and said I should not treat him like that in front of his colleagues. He then grabbed me, forcibly kissed and hugged me," she said. "He said one of us would have to leave, I knew it would not be him. Obviously, he meant me. I know I am not an executive, but this does not mean men must just impose themselves and refuse to stop when told. I am tired of being a victim," she added.

One woman who could not sustain the heat of harassment was forced to resign thus losing her house and car.

"SAA has been reduced to a haven for sex pests. If a manager and senior personal assistants are abused in this way, you can imagine what happens to impressionable young girls ..."

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